All of us enjoy listening to classic songs, but it’s always interesting when a group comes along and makes those old songs sound brand-new again.
When it comes to the musical group The Newfangled Four, putting a new spin on old favorites has taken their career far beyond that of your average barbershop quartet. Their particular blend of talented vocalists and slapstick comedy is a gigantic hit with public all over the world. They’re so good that even their mic-check has the power to go viral!
Members Joey Buss, Jackson Niebrugge, Ryan Wisniewski, and Jake Tickner have been touring as The Newfangled Four since 2012, getting their start in Long Beach, California, and now delighting crowds worldwide. While the award-winning quartet was attending the 2016 Barbershop Harmony Society International Convention in Nashville, Tennessee, they performed a mic test ahead of the Quartet Finals that became an instant hit online.
The song is an old barbershop quartet standard and favorite called “Hello My Baby.” Although the chances are super high that you’ve heard of it, you probably haven’t heard it sung like this anytime before! During the mic check before their performance, the Newfangled Four showed us what this classic song would sound like when sung in the style of Blues, Swing, Doo-Wop, and more.
“The Newfangled Four wouldn’t be the Newfangled Four unless we did something a little awkward and weird for ya,” said baritone Ryan Wisniewski as he introduced the act. Surely though, the guys came ready with props and gadgets to perform “Hello My Baby” as if it were written and performed throughout the decades. They start with lead vocalist Jackson donning sunglasses for him to take on the song from a Blues perspective, before moving into 1920s Swing style and then a 1950s Doo-Wop that would make The Big Bopper proud.
The group goes through with their performance with more quirky comedy, tackling a country version of the song before moving on to the disco era. They even bring out a special guest in order to help them perform a late 1980s/’90s rap song that isn’t half-bad.
Taking a look at this video makes it obvious why this group has found such big success around the globe. As their website states, “The Newfangled Four merges their talents as top-notch harmony singers and first-class entertainers. Their show is a blast from the past and a look into the future of barbershop quartet singing as they evolve the art form into their own style, captivating audiences of all ages.”
While they were wrapping up their mic check, an honor bestowed on the 11th-placing act in the competition, the guys even treated us to a classic version of the song, demonstrating the full power of four-part harmony at its finest. We definitely won’t think of “Hello My Baby” the same way ever again! Which version was the best in your opinion?